How to put this eloquently? Summoner by Dionysis Zogaris and Manos Lagouvardos is one of the best things that happened in 2020, comics-wise speaking. Of course, the book was affected by this maelstrom of a year: in October the two creators launched an unfortunately unsuccessful Kickstarter. But fear not potential readers, the first part of the book is available.
Let’s start with the fundamentals. Summoner was created by Dionysis Zogaris, and it was gloriously illustrated in full-bodied black-and-white gloriousness by Manos Lagouvardos. Lagouvardos’ full-fletched style of thick shadows meeting fine lines, come to complement Zogaris’ narrative and characters, leading to a tall-tale explosion – or multiple depending how far into the first issue you go.
The book’s primary narrative takes place in the realm of Zaros, a vale of curses and struggle. There is a vision, followed by a revelation, followed by masked hooded figures riding out in the night. After that, all forms of unkind hells break loose, as the hooded figures from before reveal a name in all the slaughter: Barthel. So, now we have a quest to find someone. Someone who according to that vision will be a Summoner, a person able to evoke gods, so they can restore Zaros. Only the people looking are as evil -and unexpected- as their name would suggest: the Grand Summoner’s Inquisitors.
Then, the narrative switches to a cosy home. The caption reads, “Somewhere in America – 1938”. In the lavish, lush living room a girl strokes the guitar, while her father reads. And with every passing panel, the sense of ordinariness is dispelled, to make way for extravagant adventure and gallivanting. At the end of the first book, the characters in both the worlds of Zaros and America stand on a thin line. There will be soon crossing paths with each other, invading each other’s lives and changing them forever. It goes with out saying of course, that when lives change, so do worlds.
I first came across Summoner on Kickstarter, in October. The two creators of the graphic novel offered the entire 180-paged book to their backers, along with other perks; I had my eye on a copy of Summoner’s script. Regrettably for all the backers, the campaign was not funded. And with Kickstarter having an all-or-nothing policy, Summoner, the graphic novel was not published. If you want to have a taste of Summoner, here is a preview that the creators have published.
But the creators still wanted to share this book with their readers, so the book is now available on various platforms. After contacting the creator, he said that the graphic novel will be divided in eight issues and released digitally over time. The first chapter is 32 pages long and availabe on various platfroms.
Zogaris and Lagouvardos, in the first issue of Summoner, have used words and picture alike to etch out the first bit of a map that will take its readers to a fantastical journey.
You can find the first chapter of Summoner here: